We're screwed

I carried four bits of wood and it hurt. They were four long planks and I carried them over a kilometre round the track to our mountain hut. What made this interesting - and not just a whine - is that my Dad and some friends carried the whole damn hut in. Back then they walked five times as far and climbed a thousand feet with it. Sheets of metal, fibreboard, glass, corrugated iron. Rafters, stumps, concrete, a cast iron wood stove, lino, beds, a sink. On their backs, across rock faces, in the wind. For fun.

Miners, cowboys, explorers, sailors, pioneers, soldiers, farmers... The feats of the past generations leave me in awe: their strength, their courage, their true grit. On this measure I think my generation doesn't measure up with my father's and I'm damn sure we couldn't match my grandfather's generation for sheer bloody doggedness and pluck.

There was a guy who died recently in the USA when their car got snowed in. He left the car, wandered around lost and succumbed to exposure. He got hailed as ahero for fighting for his family, in true American tradition of never criticising the dead and always praising every effort no matter how bad. He made the wrong decision, he didn't have the equipment or skills to do what he attempted, and he didn't have the strength to survive or wits to find his way back. We no longer have the common sense to equip ourselves for the worst or to work out the best option when the worst arrives; the bushcraft to deal with life outside civilisation; or the physical endurance to cope with the wild.

When time finally comes that someone "bombs us into the stone-age" or social order otherwise collapses or nature does its worst, we're screwed.